Friday, April 5, 2013

Separated at birth...Austra and Young Galaxy

Two records I've been listening to lately, and I'm still not entirely sure I can tell them apart.  Both are pristine electro-pop, anchored by really superlative female voices...I'm not saying it's a bad thing to have two albums so similar in the queue (or that it doesn't happen fairly often, the human brain is always looking for patterns, whether they're there or not), but it's a little unsettling. 

Anyway, Young Galaxy is from Vancouver, started mid-aughts as a duo of Stephen Ramsay (vocals/guitar), Catherine McCandless (vocals/keyboards), dabbled in shoe-gaze and eventually picked up a few extra members.  Ultramarine, their fourth, is out April 23 on Paper Bag Records.  It is extremely synthy, somewhat bubbly, but with a very cool, complicated undercurrent...more Cold Cave than Cut Copy. 

Here's the single, "Pretty Boy"

Austra is a much bigger deal, obviously.  The band formed around classically trained Kate Stelmanis and drummer Maya Postepski in Toronto in 2009.  The first full-length, Feel It Breakranked 85th on the 2011 Pazz & Jop Poll, appearing on 13 top-ten ballots.  I didn't vote for it, personally, but I did like it enough to interview Ms. Stelmanis for PopMatters that year. 

The new album is, I think, even better than Feel It Break, same really kind of thrilling voice, but sleeker, more assured arrangements...I haven't finished listening to it, but there's plenty of time.  Home is out June 10 on Domino. 

For now, there's the title track, which has a kind of Tori Amos shimmer to it...amazing voice, right?

Don't they sound similar, though?

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